Former Sailor Tim Guard keeps the course in supporting the Navy

Tim Guard

Tim Guard

Story and photo by Brandon Bosworth

Assistant Editor, Ho`okele

This summer, local businessman and Navy veteran Tim Guard was named chairman of the board of directors of the USS Missouri Memorial Association. He is the third chairman in the association’s 20-year history.

Guard’s new position is just one more facet of his long involvement with the U.S. Navy, dating back to his 1966 commissioning as a naval officer. Commanding a swift boat during the Vietnam War, he earned combat citations such as the Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and RVN Legion of Merit.

Upon completion of his active naval service, Guard joined the Navy Reserve forces, serving in a variety of command billets including Reserve commanding officer of the USS Esteem (MSO-432), a minesweeper.

“It was a really difficult assignment,” he recalled. “It was practically a full-time job to fulfill the responsibilities of CO of the Esteem. I did it for three years.”

Guard said he had “quite a time in the Navy” and added that he is “ever thankful to the Navy… It forces you to grow up.”

Tim Guard gazes at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fountain. Guard played a major role in the installation of the memorial in 1992.

Tim Guard gazes at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fountain. Guard played a major role in the installation of the memorial in 1992.

Choosing the Navy for his time in the military was a natural option. Born and raised in Hawaii, Guard has a lifelong love of the ocean and calls himself keiki kai, or “child of the sea.” This passion carried on to his civilian life. In 1984, Guard was named president of McCabe, Hamilton & Renny Co., the state’s oldest and largest stevedoring company. He has since become the company’s chairman and CEO.

Though it has been many years since Tim Guard was in the Navy, he still remains very involved in Navy issues. He is a longstanding member of the Navy League of the United States and has previously served as president for the Honolulu Council.

In 1992, Guard played a role in the installation of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fountain, located in front of building 150 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. He credits the idea for the memorial to 20-year Navy veteran Harold Estes.

“Harold Estes came to me and said it bothered him that there was no group memorial to the eight battleships and three cruisers that were sunk on Dec. 7, 1941,” said Guard. “He thought there should be a memorial to them.”

The Honolulu Council of the Navy League raised funds, and in 1992 the fountain was officially dedicated. It features 12 eight-foot metal and glass markers that rise from a shallow pool surrounding a fountain. Eleven of the markers represent ships and the 12th reads a dedication to all those that risked and sacrificed so much the day of the attack.

The Navy League formed an organization called “The Friends of Pearl Harbor” to handle the many contributions and other paperwork the project generated. Architect Jack J. McGarrity designed the fountain and its plaza at no cost. Guard calls his work on the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fountain “one of the highlights of my life.”

Guard was also involved in the efforts to bring the USS Missouri to Pearl Harbor.

“In the early ’90s, there was a rumor that the Navy was looking to deed the ship to an organization,” he said. “Three or four cities wanted it. The ship was in mothballs at the time, and it was in pretty bad shape.”

Guard said that the late Sen. Daniel Inouye was instrumental in getting the Missouri to Hawaii.

“Sen. Inouye’s help was of inestimable value,” he said. “There’s no question he was the deciding factor in the Navy bringing the ship here.”

In May 1998, Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract transferring the battleship to the nonprofit USS Missouri Memorial Association. A month later, the USS Missouri arrived at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. On Jan. 29, 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial museum opened.

Guard is a longtime board member of the USS Missouri Memorial Association and previously served as vice chairman. As the organization’s new chairman of the board of directors, he is prepared to take on new challenges.

“There is a great deal to be done to maintain the Missouri,” he said. “The ship underwent a major dry-docking at Pearl Harbor in 2010, and another one is coming up in 2030.”

Keeping the museum current is also an ongoing challenge.

“We want to offer a visitor experience that is both historical and contemporary,” he said. “Overseas visitors are increasing, so we have to ask, ‘How do we make it relevant for them?'”

Guard added that the memorial’s “very good stable of tour guides” helps to convey to visitors “not just the history of the Missouri, but what it represents.”

Despite the hard work that lies ahead, Guard is enthusiastic about his expanded role with the USS Missouri Memorial Association.

“There’s a feeling of pride I get when I go over the bridge to Ford Island and see the Missouri, especially at twilight when everything glows,” he said. “I get chicken skin!”

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Category: News